I was held captive by my biological father until the age of 21. He didn’t shackle me but he had a gun and the police were on his side. Pretty much the worst things imaginable happened there. I got out temporarily and was protected by a really horrible boyfriend but when we broke up I got sent back to the attic. It’s been 2 years since I escaped for good. He’s not coming for me anymore bc I’m too old for his tastes. I tried to tell the police but they said the only crime I could prove was child abuse, and the statute of limitations had passed years before. I’m trying to move on and have as normal a life as possible. I don’t want my past to be a secret, but I’m afraid people won’t like me if I tell them. It’s amazing I turned out even remotely normal—my speech is a little delayed (I’m coherent but psychologically I get stuck and can’t speak sometimes) but my reading and writing skills are really good. I got into college all by myself, bought a car, and now I’m moving across the country to get as far away from him as possible. I don’t know if I’m supposed to pretend my past never happened and start over or if I should be open about it. Other people in my shoes don’t typically make it this far. They use drugs or kill themselves, and I’ve tried both but I survived. Now I have a whole future ahead of me and I’m terrified of the possibilities. I always think I’m in trouble with adults like my bosses, cashiers, neighbors, but I know that’s not how normal people think. The cycle of punishment and manipulation is something I’ll have to fight against probably for the rest of my life. I can’t stand to have someone touch me but I want to be held. I can’t make eye contact but I desperately want to be admired. I can’t make it through a day without doing something crazy like bathing with bleach to feel clean, but on the outside I put on such a good show, I don’t even act awkward. I think it’s because I’m actually quite pretty. People assume I’m friendly and funny and not awkward because I can just smile at things I don’t understand. I want love and freedom and it feels like I have to choose one or the other.
- 1 week ago
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